Life and Fitness in Karori

Life Update.

I haven’t blogged this yet, but I’ve been working at Natcoll Design Technology for over a year now. I started as a part-time Multimedia tutor, and now I’m the Diploma of Web Development Course Coordinator for the Wellington campus. I teach on average 18 hours a week, with the rest in prep, paperwork and management. Really fun job, besides the paperwork ๐Ÿ˜‰ I even get to help out with the tech support sometimes… but eh, what ya gonna do?

. . .

Mid last year, I moved from downtown Cuba St to the boxed valley suburb of Karori (said to be the largest suburb in the southern hemisphere) with the intention of eating better and getting fit.

I’ve got the getting fit thing working somewhat: Mountain Biking. Karori has a world renowned mountain bike park running up, and most importantly, down, the back of it. I got my bike at the start of December, a nice GT Avalanche 3.0, and I’ve been slowly discovering the many tracks it holds. It’s really a beautiful place, and with summer turning up finally, I’m going to make the most of it.

I originally got the bike to commute to and from work every day. Karori is up in the hills, and the city, where I work, is at sea-level. It takes me 15 minutes door-to-door every morning, and depending on my route, 30-50 minutes coming home uphill. I don’t really enjoy exercise, but at least I know I’ll have achieved something every day, no matter how my day might have been.

Tag, I’m it.

Gee, thanks Tim. You know, with all the big names who’ve been part of this meme, I never reckoned that I’d get tagged. I suck at tag. In fact, that’s the first of five things you never knew about me:

  1. I sucked at tag. Primary school was pretty hellish for me — I was unfit, I had no friends, and I could never catch anyone. It’s a part of my life that I like to forget. Because I had no-one who liked me or understood me (my parents admit to not really understanding me and my interests when I was young) I turned to reading books and learning. If I had to pick someone who I think understood me when I was young, I’d probably have to say my grandmother on my mother’s side, Lois, who unfortunately passed away while I was at Intermediate, or just starting, I can’t remember. She would buy books for me all the time, and it was her who I credit for getting me into computers and specifically programming. An Osbourne book on Basic for various computers like the Commodore 64 and the TRS-80, and the really simple game listings within it. I would spend hours staring at that code, trying to figure out what the game would do. I wouldn’t get any kind of computer until after she passed away, and then it was a 286 and no-one told me where GW-Basic was.

    Gosh, there’s a bit there. Does that count as only one?

  2. I love computer games, but in reality, I’m not a hardcore gamer. I like the games that I can pick up, play for 15 minutes, and then put to one side. To this end, I rarely finish a game. A mild case of ADD? It’s certainly not AD&D ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can count on one hand the games I’ve clocked without cheats:
    • Half-Life (PC)
    • Half-Life 2 (PC)
    • Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) (but that barely counts)
    • Phoenix Wright (Nintendo DS) (but it’s mostly trial-and-error. Heh, trial, law game)
    • Doukutsu Monogatari (aka Cave Story) (PC)

    Yet recently I’ve bought so many DS and GBA games for my Nintendo DS Lite, and haven’t clocked any others

  3. I’m not allergic to anything, but I have had cancer. I have a giant scar on my back from where they removed a melanoma (skin cancer). Luckily it came back from the labs that it hadn’t spread, but I can’t give blood anymore. If they’d let me, I’d go every six months. So if you’re reading this, and you are able to give blood, you should go do it — it helps so many people out there, and only inconveniences you for a few hours; heck, most workplaces will let you go give blood on work time!
  4. When I want to chill out, the forest is my chill out space. I love to just go somewhere and listen, relax. Rivers are also very awesome. I was baby sitting a couple of my mum’s friend’s kids for the weekend one time in the middle of summer, and they had some really large inner tubes, so we took them out on the river out the back of their house, and had a ball and we all got so tired, we walked back, packed stuff away, and we all fell asleep in the lounge where we were sitting, totally unexpectedly. It was probably the quietest they ever were!
  5. I like chiptunes. Music made on old retro hardware that sounds like it could have come out of an old GameBoy or C64. I especially like the stuff that comes out of 8bitpeoples
  6. Bonus Fact: I don’t like peas. But that said, they are tolerable when mixed with other vegetables. But by themselves, blargh.

Bob Brown (Confessions of a Guru), Hamish MacEwan (self titled), Hillary (Kiwirose in Canada), Dan Milward (Mind of Mufasa) (fix your feeds, they’re broken), and Unbounded (self-titled), even though Unbounded is the kind of guy who would abhor this kinda meme; TAG – You’re it!

“Goodnight Kiwi” Owns Me Good.

I was reading my feeds at work before going home, and this one caught my eye. I watched it and actually started weeping. Not bad tears, but just… special tears for times gone by. If one piece of animation should make me cry, I’m glad it’s this piece of footage I grew up with — heck it’s about as old as I am. Makes me feel proud to be a New Zealander… ๐Ÿ™‚

Questions Day

What’s a good web-standards, tableless PHP+MySQL-based CMS that isn’t focused on blogging (IE, not WordPress) ?

What are some strategies for prioritising tasks in day-to-day work?

Running a car is expensive, so why don’t more people use the bus, especially in Wellington, since we (arguably) have the best bus system in the nation… ?

Why is picking up good habits so difficult, but picking up bad habits so easy?

Have you… seen my legs?

Being On Hold and the Art of Debugging DNS Discrepancies

So as you know, I recently switched hosts. I host a small site for a short animated film which is still in post production.

When I switched host, I needed to update that site’s record of who is handling the domain name. Friday night, I logged into the domain registrar and found the page which lets me update the nameservers. I am told this is called updating the zone file.

When I do this, it is supposed to propagate the changes through the all of the DNS servers around the world within the space of 24 hours. That’s how it works. Problem solved.

Not with this domain name. Monday morning rolled around, and still the domain name was pointing at the old host’s servers.

This is weird, because whois.net and samspade.org are reporting the dns records correctly.

So I get in contact with the registrar who handles the domain name. The lady on the other end of my web-based IM session told me it’s probably Telecom’s fault, as this kind of thing isn’t surprising, and on request provides me with phone numbers to Telecom.

After 15 minutes on hold (because of the power cuts in Auckland recently) I get through to a guy in Complex Technical Support (yes, that’s what the department is called at Telecom/Xtra), and I explain to him my problem, and stubbornly refuses to believe that their systems are as bad as I have been informed — I asked that he flush their dns cache for me, but he refused. After frustrating attempts to get him to see what I was seeing, I took his name down and department in case I needed to stick it to him.

So I talk to my System Administrator here at Natcoll, and he introduces me to a tool called dig which will let me see what different DNS servers are saying about domain names. After checking a few low level DNS servers, such as Paradise and Xtra, we checked the A-level DNS servers — and the first B level DNS server I checked was mis-reporting too! No wonder we’re having these problems.

So, after trying to raise an IM session with the registrar, I tracked down their phone number and called them for real. I got a helpful soul who said aha, no, what I was told by the other staff member is incorrect. Turns out that they are not a .com registrar themselves, but have to go through a US company to register .com domains on behalf of their customers, and it would seem that the propagation of the zone file changes I requested had failed, and they would need to request them to happen by telephone.

So all’s well that ends well. I’ve called Complex Tech Support back and asked that a message be left for the employee I spoke with, telling him that he was right, and I was fed bad information from my registrar and I wanted to apologise.

Hopefully the site will be up tomorrow morning! I guess we’ll see, eh?